New to Ham radio and DX........

Discussion in 'The DX Zone' started by KE9RJM, Apr 30, 2018.

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  1. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Although unlikely in the foreseeable future, it would be good for overall DXCC totals to have P5 active again. The reason being that many of us count total countries/entities, not just active ones. So if/when deleted, it would still count. And obviously, unification might result in another "new one" aka Easy and West Germany.

    With something like 360 total worked over the decades, any non-ludicrous addition (e.g., Scarborough Reef) is of interest to me and many others.
  2. WA7WJR

    WA7WJR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Bob,

    Congratulations on your first DX contact. I can relate with your emotional high every time I get a new DX contact under my belt.

    There is a lot of sage advice here, and I will offer some additional info from my experiences.

    1. Yes, use a DX spotting website. I personally like the layout and ease of use of DXMaps list view for spotting whether I am in US or VN.

    2. Some of my first DX contacts were made using an inverted G5RV at 45' strung between trees. I also used a Buddipole antenna on top of a bamboo pole at 35 ft. in VN to contact TX5EG in French Polynesia some 15,000 KM away. Of course a directional antenna is going to give you an advantage, but you can work DX with even simple antennas. As US7IGN indicated, a vertical antenna may be a better option for you given your situation. The primary disadvantage to a vertical is increased noise, but you might want to check this out...

    Before upgrading you transceiver check out and Explained for the Sherwood Table of Receiver Performance - Rev E.pdf. Upgrading your transceiver should be a careful consideration after you have more experience and determine exactly what you want to do...esp. true if you are thinking about getting into contesting. Amplifiers are a good addition and can help you break through a pile up sometimes.

    3. I have the Complete DX'er, and also "The New DXer's Handbook" by Bryce Anderson, and "DX - The Easy Way" by Craig Buck (both available on Amazon). Each cover the same basic info, and each provides some useful tips. I enjoy reading and hearing a variety of perspectives.

    A few lessons learned...

    QSOs - Almost every contact I make when operating in VN is a DX contact. The vast majority of DX contacts are going to be a minimal exchanges. In most cases, RST, OP name, and QTH than a quick thank you for QSO and 73 :) Don't expect to spend any time rag-chewing. Listen to the exchange and respond accordingly. In many cases, the DX operator may not have a strong command of English.

    CALL SIGN - when making contact state your call using international phonetic alphabet ONLY. The monkey business of saying "Welcome Two My World" for W2MW instead of "Whiskey 2 Mike Whiskey" is pure nonsense. I would never respond to a station that doesn't use international phonetics from my DX location.

    QSL - this is tricky business and a whole chapters are written about exchanging QSLs with DX stations in the above mentioned books. Always include a self-addressed envelop. Do not put any markings indicating Amateur Radio or other unique markings on the envelop (esp. if there are GS inside) due to mail theft in some countries. Many DX stations, especially Dxpeditions, are using OQRS for QSL cards and it virtually guarantees you will get a QLS card and don't require you sending one. A lot of Asian stations seem to be moving more towards eQSL. eQSL allows you to download and print QSL cards, but other than that the interface is horrible IMHO. I personally prefer LoTW, and only use eQSL for my VN call.

    CW - learn morse code. You will make a lot more DX contacts with CW than with phone...especially these days (years). This opened up a whole new world for me, and it is almost an obsession now.

    TIME - making DX contacts requires a lot of time at the radio watching and listening. Follow the gray line in the morning and evening. I have made some of my best DX contact (XR0TD, 9M2ZRK, VP2MSS, 5W1sa, RI1F, etc) from my US QTH around 1:00 - 2:00 UTC (6 - 7 pm PST).

    CONTESTS - are a great way to make DX contacts, but make sure you follow the contest exchanges. Operators get pretty fussy if you don't know the proper exchange for the contest. You don't have to, but should submit logs for verification purposes for the other stations. You can find upcoming contests and QSO parties at

    I could probably go on, but this should add a little more for you to chew on.


    AB8MA and AG5DB like this.
  3. KE9RJM

    KE9RJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for the time and effort to write a very succinct listing of advice "gems". I will be following up on many of your suggestions and really appreciate you input. Bob
  4. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is great to have high towers and big antennas but you can do pretty well with more modest gear. No doubt that efforts and money to get the best antenna you possibly can will pay the best rewards.

    I used to chase DX with a big quad, full gallon, etc. Fun! But now when the ravages of old age and decrepitude have taken their toll, I find that one can do pretty well with less. For the last 5 years, I have had simple wire antennas, or homebrew modest verticals, and run 5 watts. I also use almost exclusively CW.

    Use a cluster. I like DX Heat but there are several. Learn how to operate your gear, every knob and switch, and mode. Upgrade your antenna to eliminate inefficiencies, power robbing coax, unnecessary doo dads.

    There are dozens of antenna articles online, in old QSTs, to fit nearly every situation. Subscribe to a dx info service, like Daily DX.

    You don’t need to work every station you hear on the first call. Learn to figure out the operator’s pattern, what bands are best at which times for different areas, when propagation favors you. There is really an awful lot of information and experience that goes into working DX, and you have to start somewhere and build your skills, judgment, prowess. Patience is a virtue, too. Refuse to be deterred by the rampant bozoism you will hear. Keep your cool.

    Comtesting can yield new countries, but here again you need to get experience to maximize the experience. Just be patient, listen, persevere!

  5. K4LRX

    K4LRX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nice thought, costs nothing to dream.

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